When Worlds collide, said George Pal


George Pal
1908 - 1980

George Pal, Jr. was born in Cegled, Hungary, in a small town about forty miles from Budapest, on February 1, 1908, the son of Maria and George Pal. Young George came from a theatrical family. His grandfather and grandmother had been members of the National Theatre, and his mother and father were entertainers in a traveling theatre. Because his parents were on the road so much, Pal was raised by his grandparents.

Young Pal was not interested in the theatre, but decided instead to attend the Budapest Academy of Arts in order to study architecture. Times were hard, and Pal's family was poor. In order to put himself through school, he did all kinds of odd jobs for money.

A medical school just down the street offered classes in anatomy to its students. Pal found that by simply slipping on a white smock, he could sneak into the classes and learn anatomy. "The doctors," he says, "had to learn how to draw muscles and bones -- no matter how badly -- so that they knew them. I drew pretty good. So I reproduced my drawings and sold them to the medical students. I had to make money somehow. I think the medical professor got suspicious because so many students turned in similar drawings. But he let it pass."

Architectural students in Hungary must spend one year as either a carpenter or bricklayer, and Pal decided to work as a carpenter. In fact he enjoyed the work so much, he decided to spend a second year on the job and become a licensed carpenter. He says: "I think working with wood helped me an awful lot with the Puppetoons later on. I think without that experience I would probably never have invented the Puppetoon system.

Pal worked for the UFA studios in Germany in the early '30's, leaving when the Nazis took power. He then went to Paris, where he made stop-motion animated cartoons for Philips Radio of Holland. The company invited Pal to come to Holland and set up shop there. Pal made advertising films in Holland and built his studio, coining the word Puppetoons to incorporate his style of stop-motion animation. Pal applied for a visa to the US, and in 1939, came to New York, where he was a guest lecturer at Columbia University. Paramount signed him up, and he moved to California and opened a small studio where he began making Puppetoons for the studio. He won a special Academy Award in 1943, and in 1949 produced his first feature, "The Great Rupert," which incorporated Puppetoon techniques, as did many of his later films, including "The Time Machine."  "Destination Moon" followed "Rupert" in 1950; "When Worlds Collide" was released in '51; and with the classic "War of the Worlds" in '53, Pal's reputation as a master of movie science-fiction was  firmly established.

He assed away in 1980 while filming The Voyage of the Berg, for API Filmways, unfinished

His main movies

 AS Producer

As Director

1950 The great Rupert
        Destination Moon
1951 When Worlds collide
1953 War of the Worlds
          The Naked jungle
1955 Conquest of Space
1967 The Powwer
1958 Tom Thumb
1960 The Time Machine
        Atlantis, the Lost Continent
1962 The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm
1964 7 Faces of Dr. Lao

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